Lo-Ellen student wins prestigious $100K Schulich scholarship

The scholarship goes toward Tyler Smith’s engineering studies at McMaster University

Tyler Smith, a Grade 12 student in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, has earned a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study Engineering at McMaster University.

The scholarship recognizes outstanding young Canadian leaders seeking an undergraduate degree in a STEM field of study – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Smith has also earned a FIRST Alumni Scholarship valued at $15,000 as well as an Engineering Research Experience Award which will give him an on-campus research position working with a professor or a start-up next summer.

Smith provides educational leadership within Lo-Ellen Park’s Engineering, Design + Innovative Technology (EDIT) Lab where students are being challenged to conceive, collaborate and create. The EDIT Lab fosters an innovative mindset, where students gain understanding and skills through hands-on learning.

An active member of Lo-Ellen Park’s award-winning FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team, Smith advances opportunities in STEM in the school and the community. FIRST Canada recognized his contributions as one of two Dean’s List finalists in Ontario in 2021.

He is currently an advocate for STEM education as a member of FIRST Canada’s Executive Youth Council. He plans to continue in a mentorship role during his post-secondary studies.

“I am honored to have been selected to be a Schulich Leader,” said Smith, who is interested in a career in mechatronics engineering. “This scholarship, and the support from FIRST, will allow me to pursue my passion in engineering. I am grateful for the support and the opportunity to be mentored by leaders in the field.”

“On behalf of the Rainbow District School Board, I would like to congratulate Tyler for his outstanding achievement,” said Board Chair Bob Clement. “Tyler is among the next generation of engineers, designers, innovators and creators. We commend him for his leadership and thank him for his mentorship. ”

“Tyler is most deserving of these honors and we are very proud of him,” said Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School Principal Pamela Potvin. “We wish Tyler continued success, knowing that he will be an exemplary ambassador as a Schulich Leader and an inspiring role model.”

Dan Monti, Program Leader of Technology Studies at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, has taught Smith throughout high school. He has also worked closely with Smith as a leader of the school’s Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Manufacturing.

“Tyler’s ability in the STEM field is among the strongest I have encountered in my 14-year career teaching both engineering robotics and senior mathematics at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School,” said Monti. “From a technical perspective, Tyler has independently learned math concepts well above his grade level to ensure that students continue to drive the EDIT program at Lo-Ellen Park for years to come.”

As a student in the Grade 9 Engineering, Design & Innovative Technology (EDIT) course, Smith demonstrated a passion for computer programming and design. This experience inspired him to join Lo-Ellen Park’s FIRST Technical Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams where he gained the basics of robot programming and control from senior students on the team.

From that moment on, I have made a commitment to pay it forward.

Smith immediately began recruiting his peers to both the Robotics team and EDIT classes by speaking highly of his experiences and helping his peers gain programming skills. He has shared his learning with students on FIRST Canada Live and has provided workshops and video tutorials for other FIRST Technical Challenge teams locally and across the province.

In Grade 11, Smith assumed a leadership role in a new course at Lo-Ellen Park that integrates the FIRST Technical Challenge into the classroom through the engineering design process. For the course, Smith developed programming video tutorials in Java to control a mecanum drivetrain. As a direct result of his work, four robots were successfully created in the classroom by Grade 10 students with no prior experience. The students were able to program and control robots through autonomous and tele-op routines.

More recently, Smith has been engaged in a community-based research project with a dedicated group of Grade 12 EDIT students. They have been working with a local engineering and research company on the development of a functional prototype for a commercial product in the field of renewable energy.

“This work has normally been reserved for graduate students at a post-secondary level of study,” Monti. “As a student leader in this project, Tyler has been responsible for learning about three-phase power generation in the fields of renewable wind energy and applying his knowledge to the development of a commercial energy prototype. This past semester, I have helped to define the project scope, built a functional small scale AC turbine generator, created the custom electronic circuit, and developed a monitoring system to regulate current delivery through his custom prototype.”

As he gets ready to graduate, Smith leaves a lasting legacy.

Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School received $40,000 in EDIT program sponsorship to develop the prototype based on the framework that he developed. The work will be part of an experiential learning project for students over the next three years.

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